From record-store karaoke to camouflaged houses, last week was packed with inventive show ideas and inventive bands to play them (not to mention that killer set from the Fall as well). On Wednesday, June 25, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead performed some early-evening karaoke at Sonic Boom, taking on such classics as "Sweet Caroline," "Cecilia," and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" for a small crowd. It was an amusing concept and a cool way to see a different side from those four. Their real show later that night was amazing, right down to the cover of Black Flag's "Wasted" and the drummer trashing his kit before reconstructing it for the encore.
On Thursday night, Shoplifting headlined a U-District house party where the walls were covered in camouflage sleeping bags and the names of the bands were written in duct tape across them, giving off a cool cave effect to those of us crammed inside. Chicago's Metalux went first, a duo that opened two suitcases of samplers and knob-twiddling equipment, and produced a wave of tormented techno (with samples sounding like semis as one woman spoke gibberish into a distorted mic). Definitely an inspiring experience, as were San Francisco's Big Techno Werewolves, a two-guitar/one-keyboard act that shoved a bunch of discordant riffs against each other as the band members went off on their own instrumental tangents dressed in skeleton costumes.
Speaking of San Francisco, ex-members of XBXRX have come together in K.I.T. (Keep in Touch), a band I've only heard a bizarre seven-inch from but who still managed to kick my ass with their frenetic freakouts. Their split on Zum Audio sounds like a Comets on Fire cheerleading camp, where chants are buoyed by feedback, fuzz, and lo-fi madness, with the thick molars of uneven guitar riffs chomping through a squirming mess of instrumental chaos (they were described by one fan as being like a "Melt Banana game show"). K.I.T. play here with Doppelgänger Yellow Swans and kisskisskiss at CoCA on Monday, July 7, at 10 pm ($5).
I know I'm late on this one, but I finally saw the Lights at the Crocodile on Tuesday, and realized what a great band those guys are. The trebly guitars and precise drumming patterns reminded me a bit of the A-Frames, except the Lights have a little faster, more pop hook to them. They're one of the best local bands I've stumbled across in a while, and their debut LP is coming out later this month. Also on the A-Frames kick, the Intelligence showed off their new lineup at the Comet on Saturday night and blew me away. With Lars from the A-Frames on vocals/guitars and Min from the band on bass, the Intelligence couldn't help but capture a bit of that group's sound, but together with Kimberly from Thee Flying Dutchmen on guitar and Matthew from Pyramids on drums, they also took on an intense Hot Snakes quality that I really dug.
Also on Saturday night, Akimbo and the Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower played Ground Zero in Bellevue. Both bands put on topnotch performances, with Nat Damm from Akimbo launching into a John Bonham-like drum solo at the end of one song that put the crowd into shell-shocked awe. The Plot are one of my favorite non-local up-and-coming bands, as they blend avant-hardcore with dance punk and jazz (the singer took up the saxophone for a couple songs); I highly recommend picking up Dissertation, Honey if you're a fan of bands like the Blood Brothers and Mars Volta.
Friday night, the Zak's crowd bid a nice farewell to booker Brian Foss with buttons that said "Fuck Sal" (the bar's current owner) as Skullsucker's guitarist stripped down to his skivvies and the band played a mix of covers and fun, Crampsy garage rock.
In more general news, in the vein of the punk rock aerobics that were so popular a couple years back, the Vera Project is offering Punk Rock Yoga starting this Tuesday, July 8, through July 31. The Tuesday-morning/Thursday-night classes are free, and for more info, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
And Graceland's assistant booker Frankie Chan joins the First Thursday crowd at Lipstick Traces on July 3 when the talented poster/comic-book artist showcases ink/watercolor portraits of Seattle city life. The showing is free, and starts at 8 pm.